Bangladesh High Court removed Virgin declaration from Marriage Certificates

Bangladesh high court building

Muslim brides in Bangladesh will no longer have to declare whether they are virgins on kabinnama, the Muslim marriage deed, the country's high court has ruled.

The High court declared the "virgin" status on the marriage certificate to be "humiliating" and "discriminatory."

There are 3 options in the kabinnama, the Muslim marriage deed:
1 virgin
2 divorced
3 window

The word "virgin" will be replaced with the word "unmarried," when referring to women's status.

The other 2 options on the form, "divorced" and "widowed," will be unchanged.

On August 25th, the High Court bench consisting of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khijir Ahmed Chowdhury delivered the verdict following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust.

Three rights groups filed the petition against the term in 2014, have long described the term as discriminatory and a breach of privacy for women getting married.

The court also said that grooms will now have to disclose their marital status.


"The judge agreed that it is a violation of women's privacy and fundamental rights,"
Siddique one of the lawyers representing the case's petitioners said about the term.

The term 'virgin' had been used in marriage certificates since 1961 when Bangladesh was still part of Pakistan.

Anisul Huq, Bangladesh's minister of law, justice, and parliamentary affairs,
"I'm still waiting to receive a copy of the honorable court's judgment."
"Let it come and once I go through the wording of the order, I'll decide and respond."

World Bank report in April, Bangladesh is one of the few South Asian countries to have increased female employment and the reduced wage gap between men and women in the last decade, more could be done to increase gender equality.

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